Mayor's approval, vote share up slightly as return nears

| Filed under: Toronto

Chow and Tory tie with Ford out

TORONTO June 24th, 2014 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 890 Toronto voters one week before he returns from rehab, Mayor Rob Ford's approval rating has improved slightly since the historic low noted the last time we polled, and he is more competitive in most mayoral election match ups.

Tory with best approval rating, Ford with poorest

Approval ratings are a function of awareness, among other things. Among the vast majority of voters aware of him (92%), John Tory has the approval of 6-in-10 (61%, down from 68% on June 6), while the equally large proportion who know of Olivia Chow (96%) give her a similar approval score (57%, down from 64%). Two thirds are aware of David Soknacki (63%) and just less than half approve (47%, down from 54%). Most voters know of Karen Stintz (80%), but just 4-in-10 giver her their approval (41%, down from 46%). Rob Ford has the approval of just one third (32%), up slightly since two weeks ago (28%).

Chow leads key races, ties Tory when Ford is out

In the all-important five way match between all major contenders, Olivia Chow leads with a third  (34%), compared to just more than a quarter for Rob Ford (27%) and just a quarter for Tory (24%). David Soknacki (6%) and Karen Stintz (3%) do not really contend.

In a four way race in which Rob Ford doesn't run, John Tory and Olivia Chow are essentially tied among voters, with more than a third each (34% and 36%, respectively). Once again, Soknacki (8%) and Stintz (5%) don't contend. In this race, close to a fifth have no opinion (12%), and this is because Rob Ford supporters don't know who to vote for (35%).

In a three way  race between the major contenders, Olivia Chow takes close to 4-in-10 votes (37%), to 3-in-10 for Tory (29%) and Ford (28%).

In a straight up contest   between John Tory and Olivia Chow, the two are closely matched (40% and 42%, respectively), and close to a fifth have no opinion (17%), including close to 4-in-10 Ford supporters (38%).

Ford Nation springs back

In the question which determines membership in Ford Nation ("Will you vote for Rob Ford in the municipal election in October or not?" with no other candidates named), the proportion saying yes has rebounded from less than a quarter two weeks ago (22%) to close to 3-in-10 now (29%). At this point, Ford Nation is characterized by the youngest (38%), the less wealthy (less than $20K - 38%, $20K to $40K - 42%), in Scarborough (42%) but not downtown (15%), among the least educated (50%) and provincial PC voters (49%).

Fewer call for mayor to resign

Just less than 6-in-10 voters now want the mayor to resign (58%), down slightly from two thirds last time we polled (June 6 - 63%). Wanting him to resign is common to younger groups (35 to 44 - 63%), the wealthiest ($100K to $250K - 75%), in the downtown (73%), the best educated (post grad - 67%), past Liberal or NDP voters provincially (69% and 67%, respectively) and Olivia Chow supporters municipally (90%).

Chow leads on most attributes except budget

When asked which candidate would handle the city's budget best, it is a relatively even field, led by Rob Ford (31%), followed by Tory (27%) and Chow (26%). Chow is seen to have the best vision for the city (35%), compared to Tory and Ford (26% each). Tory (32%) and Chow (34%) are relatively closely tied for being able to get council to work together, but Ford is not (14%), nor are Soknacki and Stintz (5% and 4%, respectively). Chow is seen to be the winner for leaving the city in better shape (32%) over Ford (26%) and Tory (25%).

Chow, Ford matched for having best transit plan

More than a quarter see Rob Ford (26%) or Olivia Chow (27%) as having the best transit plan for the city, while Tory trails slightly (23%). Soknacki (5%) and Stintz (7%) don't contend on this measure, and one tenth have no opinion (11%). Interestingly, very few believe none of the candidates has a transit plan that will work (1%).

Building transit most important task for mayor

Close to one third of voters say building transit is the most important issue in the election (31%), followed by keeping taxes low (20%) and protecting existing city services (10%). Other priorities selected by fewer than a tenth include rebuilding Toronto's image (9%), eliminating waste and caring for the most vulnerable (8% each) and cleaning up city hall (7%). Among Ford supporters, taxes are clearly the biggest concern (40%), followed by eliminating waste (17%) and cleaning up city hall (14%). Among Chow supporters, the biggest priority is building transit (35%), followed by protecting city services (19%), rebuilding Toronto's image (15%) and caring for the most vulnerable (12%). Tory supporters are especially concerned with building transit (40%), followed by keeping taxes low (14%), eliminating waste (11%) and rebuilding Toronto's image (10%).

Majority disapprove of Soknacki parking ban downtown

More than one half of Toronto voters disapprove David Soknacki's proposal to ban on-street parking on major streets in the downtown core (58%). One third approve of the plan (31%) and one tenth have no opinion (11%). Approval is highest among the least wealthy (39%), the wealthiest (37%), transit users (36%), those who disapprove of Mayor Ford (37%) and past NDP provincial voters (47%).

"With his return now imminent, interest in the mayor is beginning to grow, and with it, as usually happens, his approval. We'll see if this is a temporary phenomenon, or a sustained surge which will carry him back into the campaign he left so abruptly," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.